Orienting a Moonstone crystal to show off the phenomena

by anthonylloydrees on July 31, 2010

I received this crystal from a customer with the request to facet a checkerboard brilliant oval. I am not a big fan of faceted phenomenal stones as they rarely do justice to the effects. Moonstones are especially suited to low flat cabochons which will display the adularescence optimally. High rounded cabs will have much smaller ‘moons’ but colour and visibility are improved with the extra material.

Video Link: http://www.ganoksin.com/benchtube/video/787/Orienting-a-Moonstone-crystal-for-cutting

Well…..Several years back I wrote an article on orienting star stones which to my surprise got printed and passed around to many clubs and got a very warm reception. I thought it would be a good idea to document the orientation of this stone as a guide for any potential moonstone cutters So I got out my camera…

The typical orientation method uses Star Refractol, although very viscous it is still a liquid which works well enough for the intended purpose but when lights (heat) and camera time get involved it starts to become a problem.

So, I thought epoxy resin might be the answer. I mixed up a little and applied it where I thought the orientation centre was located. I then let it dry with the crystal suspended from cheese wax so that the resulting epoxy bulb solidified where I thought the apex would be.

Ah…Hughes epoxy, great stuff but not quick. So, the next day I mounted the stone on my turntable with my trusty cheese wax and with a light source directly above it, I observed the moon in the epoxy bulb. I had missed the mark by a little but it did allow me to easily adjust the crystal orientation to show the position in which a moon would be displayed across the stone in a face-up position. This is of course when the blue moon effect stayed centred on the top of the epoxy bulb as the crystal rotated.

At this point I took some more video from a direct sideways position. What it shows is quite disappointing. It is obvious that there is probably no other way the stone could be oriented to provide a lesser recovery….sigh. Mother Nature does enjoy laughing at us!

With star and eye stones the closer to a hemisphere the crisper and better the display but with schiller, labradorescence and adularascence a flatter stone will display the effect better. With this in mind the possibility of more than two stones has to be considered. I am hoping that other cutters might offer advice if they see these pictures. More so if they are conversant with enough moonstone cutting.

Not having a pair of moonstone scissors I have to consider the kerf loss from sawing this crystal along with the wandering blade and break out chipping likelihood, I’m also considering the cleavage planes deciding to add to the excitement which is more than likely to occur as the stones get thinner. I favour the 2 stone option as this has the highest likelihood of success and probably the best recovery. However I feel the 3 stone option would provide the best results, although the recovery is likely to be less the saleabilty would be much higher.

Tony.
Who discovered greenscreening in iMovie;
http://youtube.googleapis.com/v/3Ym5vsbFzy0

anthonylloydrees

anthonylloydrees

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Anne Bellissimo August 5, 2010 at 4:30 am

Thanks–I’ve always wondered what to do w/minerals, gems in addition to setting them in jewelry or just plain setting them around the house . Guess I just didn’t think it through–I enjoy your blog & view of your nice clean studio. Anne

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